Leno has been beating Letterman in ratings for the vast majority of the last
twenty years. One reason might be his more even handed treatment of
politicians. Remember all of the Mitt Romney jokes? I agree that always
showing one's political biases makes for boring television. Like him or
not; another reason for his popularity is that for many of us Jay's show
has the best balance and is the most entertaining. I wonder if the author
remembers that the Leno/O'Brien fiasco started when Conan made it known
through his agent back in 2004; that he would sign a new contract "if"
he was promised Leno's job in 2009.
I prefer Leno b'c he seems somewhat conservative and yet not so obviously
as Letterman is Democrat. I recall when Letterman used to rather difficult to
pin down politically, and I think he was more popular in consequence. It is hard to be generally regarded as funny when you make political jokes
that always seem to favor one side, or ridicule the other, so plainly; you have
to make conservatives and liberals laugh together to enjoy wide appeal. I prefer
that Scottish guy (what's his name? the one with the puppets) because he
is funnier than both of them imo.
Frankly, I have no idea why Leno is beating Letterman in the ratings, unless
people like Leno's preference for living "in the gutter" as
Wanderer posted.But I think Jim Bennett is simply wrong when he
writes that Letterman has an obligation to be an "equal-opportunity
offender" when it comes to presidents. The fact is, some presidents are
funnier than others and tend to do stupid things. Yes, Letterman has been easy
on Obama, but he ridiculed Bill Clinton (a Democrat) almost as much as George W.
Bush. Let's face it, presidents like George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama just
aren't all that funny.And if you think Letterman has stopped
poking fun at Democrats, that will surely come as a big surprise to Anthony
Weiner, Barney Frank and Eliot Spitzer.BTW, on a slightly different
topic, when journalists can tell that one politician is a partisan, incompetent
hack while another tries honestly to do what's best for the country, they
shouldn't be "equal opportunity" in their coverage. But that's
a discussion for another day.
Neither late-night host earns high marks but I do agree that Leno plays the
field more evenly than Letterman and generates viewership. Here's a couple
of reasons why:1. Letterman's humor is definately "junior
high" in concept and execution. Can't figure why he takes the
amateurish approach to humor when he clearly excels in interviewing skills.2. He was so one-sided and biased in the recent elections it was embarrassing.
I would think that Romney's advisors could have made the case that
Letterman's constant distortion of facts and arguments easily polarized the
nation.Leno doesn't deserve great respect either. He tends to live in
the gutter much too often.